Bangladesh needs to make climate change a core issue of diplomacy as it has currently become closely related to security issues, said experts and stakeholders on Tuesday in a seminar.
"We need to understand and take into account the fact that the Conference of Parties (COP), which takes place only once a year, is no longer the only place where climate diplomacy takes place," Professor Saleemul Huq, director of International Centre for Climate Change and Development (ICCCAD), said at a seminar titled "Climate Diplomacy: Constraints and Choices for Bangladesh" yesterday.
"Our diplomats have to do more in this regard. It is not enough to join only in annual conferences. Indeed, every diplomat in Bangladesh embassies across the world now needs to make efforts to tackle climate change as a core issue of bilateral discussion," he said at the event organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) at BIISS auditorium.
"We are still vulnerable to climate change, but we are resilient. So, vulnerability is no longer our selling point on a global level, but resilience is," said Professor Saleemul Huq.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Shamsul Alam, who participated in the event as the chief guest, said, "Bangladesh firmly believes that climate change is a security issue and it must be discussed at a regular interval at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The strict implementation of the Paris Agreement is necessary to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change.
"Bangladesh has been a significant player in global climate diplomacy. During the presidency of Climate Vulnerable Forum, Bangladesh emerged as a legitimate voice in the climate change negotiations under the able leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
"The country has launched the 'Mujib Climate Prosperity Plan' with an aim to put her on a journey from climate vulnerability to resilience to climate prosperity. It is indeed one of the landmark policy guidelines for climate vulnerable countries."
Dr Shamsul Alam said this is high time the major carbon emitters meet the mitigations target swiftly. Besides, the issue of loss and damage must be addressed with utmost importance.
Colonel MA Saadi, acting director general of BIISS, said the fundamental bases of Bangladesh's climate diplomacy are: adhering to multilateralism in climate policy, accelerating domestic action and raising global ambition, and enhancing international climate cooperation through advocacy and outreach.
Ambassador Kazi Imtiaz Hossain, chairman of BIISS, said, due to climate change and ensuing threats, climate diplomacy has become a necessity. Currently, the government has been involving the ministries and also its different wings, including the local ones, for promoting greater inter-organisational coordination.
"For example, at national levels, the 8th Five Year Plan, the Perspective Plan 2021-2041, and the Delta Plan 2100 – all address climate change issues as a key priority. However, there still remains much to do at regional and global levels for Bangladesh," he added.
The speakers focused on the role of major emitters in climate finance in upcoming COP-27 to be held from 6-18 November this year in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.